Worcester Ballpark & Redev

Lrfox

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I guess when it comes to sporting venue's, I don't have a critical eye for the architecture. Just look at some of the gems we have around here, TD Garden, DCU center ... all just bland buildings.
At the risk of being accused of heresy, the bulk of Fenway isn't exactly a stunner. The Jersey St. and Brookline Ave. exteriors are the real deal and they're perfect for the neighborhood. But the majority of the exterior looks like this or like this. While I love the Fenway experience (I'm very much in the "preserve it and keep using it" camp, and I think the Monster Seats looming over Lansdowne is pretty cool), it's hardly a looker from most exterior angles. The exterior photos of Polar Park don't wow me either, but I appreciate the effort and I prefer it to now 30+ year old trend of modeling new ballparks after historic parks.
 

NoShJFK

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As I said before - the interior would be fine if - and this might sound very trivial - they had seats stretch further down the line. Seating stopping just passed the bags gives it a Single-A or collegiate feel.

If they put the visitors pen in Left Center there’s room for one more small section in left. And if they pushed the home pen further down the line in right (as in up against the wall / foul pole) you could fit two more sections of seating.

Part of the reason for this is the desire for multiple “party deck” style areas where they can charge large amounts for a groups. I think the park overdoes this with 1 down Left field line, 2 down the right field line and what looks like two in right.

As for other issues with the park (good & bad) I don’t mind the industrial exterior but couldn’t they have made it industrial without it looking cheap? I do think the scoreboard is perfect size and is gorgeous. The whole Worcester Wall concept comes off as well down - it “fits” without looking forced or tacky - not sure if it helps because it’s a true wall - it’s not artificial - as the street level rises at that point.
 

jdrinboston

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FWIW...I'm a reader of the "Field of Schemes" blog, though admittedly, I don't always agree with some of the author's positions. And I will confess to being completely agnostic about the PawSox move to Worcester and the public money spent on the ballpark. With that said, I visited on Sunday and felt the need to share some of my photos and views, which were incorporated in the blog post below. In short, I felt myself underwhelmed by the experience and baffled by some of the design choices. When the final history is written, I'm not sure to what degree this move was an upgrade from the experience at McCoy Stadium.

Worcester’s butt-ugly $160m stadium: an eyewitness report – Field of Schemes
 

Seanflynn78

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FWIW...I'm a reader of the "Field of Schemes" blog, though admittedly, I don't always agree with some of the author's positions. And I will confess to being completely agnostic about the PawSox move to Worcester and the public money spent on the ballpark. With that said, I visited on Sunday and felt the need to share some of my photos and views, which were incorporated in the blog post below. In short, I felt myself underwhelmed by the experience and baffled by some of the design choices. When the final history is written, I'm not sure to what degree this move was an upgrade from the experience at McCoy Stadium.

Worcester’s butt-ugly $160m stadium: an eyewitness report – Field of Schemes
I completely agree with you. Take away the luxury boxes and party decks and left with 6k seats? McCoy at least had some character and quirks to it that were old timey. Not sure why the capacity is not BIGGER than McCoy, as you could probably get 12k-13k for attendance during the mid Summer months. Polar Park looks beautiful, but I think the way they designed it, there is limited areas for expansion. I am curious how many fans they pack in it for the Holy Cross football game.
 

citydweller

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The average attendance in AAA baseball is less than 6K. I think the novelty of having a new team in Worcester would have realized about 10K attendance for the first few years but I suspect that it would flatten out. I have to admit, that the limited seating of about 6K seems shortsighted to me. Larry Lucchino and his brain-trust ((Janet Marie Smith) were hellbent on building the stadium on the northern side of Madison St (they liked the contour of the land) and as a result, it was riddled with cost overruns, additional land acquisition and a site that apparently limited the the stadium construction footprint. But hey, he got a cool right field wall.
 
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BosDevelop

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Is there any truth to the rumor that the facade of the stadium was supposed to be brick paneling but was changed at the last minute due to escalating costs?
 

stellarfun

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Is there any truth to the rumor that the facade of the stadium was supposed to be brick paneling but was changed at the last minute due to escalating costs?
The early renders had brick. I don't think anyone realized this was switched out until a few months ago.
 

cubalibre

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Is there any truth to the rumor that the facade of the stadium was supposed to be brick paneling but was changed at the last minute due to escalating costs?
Very early renderings showed brick but the current design has been publicized since Fall 2019.
 

Portlander

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Am surprised there are only 6000 actual seats for a AAA ballpark. Hadlock Field in Portland seats 7368 for the AA Sea Dogs but has no additional lawn area for added capacity. I do like the inside of Polar Park but the exterior will take some getting used to.
 

NoShJFK

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Am surprised there are only 6000 actual seats for a AAA ballpark. Hadlock Field in Portland seats 7368 for the AA Sea Dogs but has no additional lawn area for added capacity. I do like the inside of Polar Park but the exterior will take some getting used to.
The Red Sox might have the worst set of minor league parks. Hadlock is awful. The Green Monster replica was done in a tacky way. The seating bowl looks like diffrent parts assembled into one. The right field line looks sloppy. It’s totally overrated.
Am surprised there are only 6000 actual seats for a AAA ballpark. Hadlock Field in Portland seats 7368 for the AA Sea Dogs but has no additional lawn area for added capacity. I do like the inside of Polar Park but the exterior will take some getting used to.
The Red Sox might have the worst set of minor league parks. Hadlock is awful. The Green Monster replica was done in a tacky way. The seating bowl looks like diffrent parts assembled into one. The right field line looks sloppy.
I completely agree with you. Take away the luxury boxes and party decks and left with 6k seats? McCoy at least had some character and quirks to it that were old timey. Not sure why the capacity is not BIGGER than McCoy, as you could probably get 12k-13k for attendance during the mid Summer months. Polar Park looks beautiful, but I think the way they designed it, there is limited areas for expansion. I am curious how many fans they pack in it for the Holy Cross football game.

The bullpens are the areas you have to think about when it comes to expansion. As I’ve said before the only thing I can think of is moving the visitors pen to left center (making an indent in what will become the “berm”.

The home bullpen would literally just have to be pushed further down the line. So essentially where you see the SHAWS logo now would be a continuation of the Worcester Wall but the logo would be in foul territory

1. Current Bullpens that could be replaced by seating sections
2.
Potential locations bullpen could be moved too,

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It’s a really rough estimate but if there are 6,500 or so seats ... that could expand the park to what.... 8,500 seats?

In the “Crazy Polar Park” pitches department they could adjust the building going in left field to feature some seating arrangements coming off the second level of the building?

I thought they were (and IDK if they still are) were considering doing some kind of viewing area near the top of the building

You could expand the upper level of seating further down the lines but that seems like a stretch
 
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tobyjug

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Looking forward to visiting it. Does look in the photos like there was a lot of value engineering compared to the Camden Yards style renderings.
PS the Fitton Field baseball stadium at Holy Cross is a very coherent 3000 seat park
 

WormtownNative

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Looking forward to visiting it. Does look in the photos like there was a lot of value engineering compared to the Camden Yards style renderings.
PS the Fitton Field baseball stadium at Holy Cross is a very coherent 3000 seat park
The HIP (Hanover Insurance Park) at Fitton Field was built as an upgrade for the Worcester Tornadoes way back when they were first established. For a small park, it's a great setup.

As a Worcester resident though, I agree that the exterior seems to be a bait and switch when they were touting the brick very early on and that was established in people's minds that that was what it was going to be. Should we have paid more attention to updated renders? Probably. But I don't think anyone expected that much of a value engineering.
 

Lrfox

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I'm still looking forward visiting the stadium. The pictures at least make it look a whole lot nicer than most minor league parks in the region apart from maybe Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. The 6,500ish seating capacity (plus lawn/congregate capacity) seems about right to me. 12,000 seats is overkill if 1/2 of them are going to be empty the vast majority of the time. AAA baseball just doesn't draw those types of crowds and congregate/lawn seating sections stand a better chance at pumping up attendance figures than additional fixed seats. Think of it as a outdoor bar/dining destination with a view, the cost of admission is essentially a cover charge, and the game just part of the overall atmosphere. There's a big subset of fans that this appeals to - I used to get the cheapest PC basketball and Providence Bruins tickets we could buy and go sit at the bar with friends (like the games/follow the teams, but enjoy the experience even more). Great atmosphere for beers and the game is better than sports on TV, etc. WooSox ownership knows that a huge chunk of the people attending these games are going to have the field and game as atmosphere while they grab a bite or have a few beers outside in summer with friends. The congregate areas/lawn cater to those fans.

I can't fully judge without experiencing it in person, but I'm wondering if some of the dissenting voices actually remember McCoy? It was about as "meh" as it comes. Even if Polar doesn't knock it out of the park (sorry) with some questionable sight lines and some value engineering, it has to be a pretty dramatic improvement. Northeast Dental Stadium in Manchester is nice enough, but new development around it is inexplicably suburban and it's disconnected despite being walking distance from downtown. Hadlock Field is nothing even remotely special in spite of the fact it's not far from the highway or city center.
 

RandomWalk

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Northeast Dental Stadium: Come for the baseball. Stay for the root canal.
 

tobyjug

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I’m hoping for dogs and beer at Coney Island, visit guitar store next door, then ball game!
 

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